I'm impressed by how motivated you are and your willingness to plan ahead. This is definitely a great mindset to have not just for getting into uni, but doing well in uni, as well as in your future career.

It depends on what you want to do at uni. From your BoS profile, it says that you're interested in IT, in which case art, drama and second language aren't very relevant and won't really give you any advantages when applying.

If you are doing fine in maths so far, and is interested in learning much more powerful maths which is (a) very useful and (b) fascinating and surprising, then you should most definitely do Extension 2.

Mathematics Extension 2 is a difficult HSC course, but compared to uni, it's more or less on par with the difficulty of many first year uni courses. You should treat Extension 2 like practice for how you will handle tough courses in uni. Even if you get 60% for an Extension 2 exam, you shouldn't be discouraged, because 100% there will be times in uni where you get 60% (or lower!) and have to push on. So the upshot here is that most HSC units are significantly easier than first year uni courses (the courses in your latter years of uni aresignificantlymore difficult than first year uni), however Extension 2 isn't one of them, and this is a good thing because it means you get the chance to experiment and find out the best way to handle difficult subjects.

You do not need to start preparing too early.As long as you're willing to read parts of textbooks weekly or use Google to help understand mathematical concepts taught to you during class, and willing to do your exercises, then you'll do just fine. This is how you should be studying during uni too. The main difficulty for most people when it comes to Extension 2 (particularly in schools where not many students take it) is that their teachers aren't very good at teaching the course. But that's where the textbook and googling comes in; you should get to the level where you're ready to self-study as much as necessary before you start uni.

Yes, doing Extension 2 often gives you advantages in getting into uni, particularly for STEM degrees. In your case, IT is often either (a) an engineering degree, or (b) a science degree (majoring in computer science). Major unis like USYD and UNSW will often grant people who have done reasonably well in Extension 1 and Extension 2 "bonus ATAR points" towards STEM degrees. By reasonably well, this usually means the highest or the second highest bands (which, to be honest, isn't very hard to get).

Finally, if you really are interested in IT, you should most definitely take up Extension 2. It helps to develop your ability to reason through difficult and complex problems, and being good at maths is extremely beneficial in IT and computer science in general. In fact, IT and computer science degrees will often require you to take up additional maths units at uni, so by doing Extension 2 for the HSC, you're not only preparing yourself for the maths required for IT/comp sci courses, but also for necessary maths courses you'll need to do.

Hope this helps.

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